Trump’s “America First” attitude undermines our global standing

David Fletcher, Staff Writer

Since the beginning of his campaign to reach the White House, all kinds of criticism has been levied against Donald Trump. Due to the many concerns Americans have about Trump, which are exacerbated by a media that consumes us with the latest reports of his erratic behavior, it can be easy to become distracted.

I believe that Trump’s cardinal sin as Commander-in-Chief is his lack of appreciation for his leadership position within a liberal coalition of nations. He has already created substantial damage via his rhetoric and policies to undermine that standing.

Within the world of international relations, nations are generally considered to be the most significant political actors. This is because they possess sovereignty, which is the ability to make their own decisions regarding what transpires within the confines of their borders and how they conduct themselves in foreign affairs.

As the 20th century began to progress and World War II came to an end, however, some people began to conclude that there should be intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations to assist in crafting a more harmonious world. These organizations are a unique phenomenon within the international arena because they inherently give up some of their sovereignty when a new nation joins.

The international community faces issues today that could affect people all across the globe. These global problems include climate change, the degradation of our oceans, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Unlike all of his predecessors since the establishment of United Nations in 1945, Trump doesn’t seem to see the value in America being the leader of helping solve these global issues.

Our country has sacrificed a lot from the giving of our financial resources to poorer countries to having to put American boots on the grounds of foreign lands in order to protect an ally to secure our spot at the helm of these international institutions. But we believe these sacrifices are worth it because they help create a world order infused with western values such as political and economic freedoms.

As the Trump administration pulls back from the notion that America should be the leader within the international community, they are paving the way for other countries to take our framework and use it for their own purposes.

China is the perfect example of this. Once Trump took us out of the Paris Climate Accord and killed international trade deals, China took a leadership role and is reaping the financial benefits that came with deepening their ties with other countries. If an autocratic nation like China is at the forefront of future coalitions it could mean a lessening of liberal values within the fabric of the international arena, and the downgrade of American prestige.

I am proud to call myself an United States citizen, but throughout my studies in college I have come to believe that being a “global citizen” should be at the forefront of our identities as 21st century earth dwellers. If we as a species aspire to continue calling this world our home, we must ensure that there is collaboration between the nations that comprise the international community.

No one country, even ours, can solve the all-encompassing global problems that threaten humanity, or elude them by isolating themselves and retreating back to a “my country first” mentality.